To Serve, or to Sell, that is the question.

As marketers, we are mostly programmed to SELL, SELL, SELL! However, in this day and age, it seems it’s more effective to serve. Recent studies (according to us) show that consumers are more interested in receiving information that will educate and enrich their lives. They want a story. Content. An experience. Something usable beyond just a “buy this now!” call-to-action.

To do this, we must think about our engagement strategy, and look for ways to immerse our audience in the brand, rather than simply sell it. We must tap into the emotional sensibilities, and bring their normal, everyday experience to life in a way that serves a bigger purpose — to create an unbreakable bond, that ultimately results in sales.

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Here are some ways this is being done…

  • Virtual Reality: Create a new world to experience your brand (Check out what Tom’s did)
  • Augmented Reality: Bring the retail experience to life wherever you are (See how the IKEA Catalog enables you to place furniture in your space before you buy it)
  • Bots: Brands becoming personal assistants (Casper gives you someone to talk to on those sleepless nights)

There are many partners out there specializing in these methods (Blippar, LSTNR, Moth+Flame). And if you want to proactively bring new, impactful ideas to your clients and consumers, we suggest you tap into them.

So don’t get stuck in the world of selling. It’s a one-dimensional way to drive engagement and conversions. Change your approach. Be multidimensional, it will serve you well.

What Sparks Our Fire: Taking the initiative to find new ways to turn simple ideas into ones that serve a bigger purpose.

 

If GPS Could Talk…

 

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Forsman & Bodenfors wants to make sure drivers “drive 25 to keep kids alive,” and they’ve found an ingenious way to do it. Talking GPS are standard features in modern vehicles, but the agency has conceptualized an app that will switch the voice on the GPS to a child’s when within range of a school, daycare, or other area populated by children.

It’s currently available in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, and comes pre-loaded with all schools and daycare centers in the Nordic region.

The agency hopes that this will serve as an audio reminder to drive carefully and watch for children, reducing the number of accidents in school zones and other kid-friendly areas.

What Sparks Our Fire: Using innovation and unconventional problem-solving to draw attention to an often-ignored safety hazard

Tech Goes Green

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Sustainability has been a growing trend in business for years now as climate change becomes a more prevalent threat, however, now technology companies especially have realized that sustainability is a good investment.

Sustainability “ensures business continuity by conserving resources,” and now more than ever, economic and environmental sustainability are vital to businesses’ longevity and productivity.

In 2014, Unilever CEO Paul Polman declared that climate change-related natural disasters are costing Unilever at least $300 million a year. To combat this, several companies have come up with ways to conserve energy and other natural resources.

Creating environmental products is one such step. Samsung, for example, has taken the lead and released a solar-powered laptop, as well as three “green” mobile phones made of corn starch bioplastic and have energy-efficient chargers and recyclable packaging.

In order to ensure the future of the planet–and technology–it’s up to other companies to follow in Samsung’s small carbon footprints.

What Sparks Our Fire: Companies taking on a greater accountability for their sustainability and making moves to make sustainability a universal practice.

 

Raising the Bar

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The next step for global connectivity? A smartphone for the developing world. And it’s designed by none other than John Sculley, former Apple executive and Robert Brunner, the designer behind Beats by Dre headphones.

The Obi Worldphone marks a greater push toward accessible technology–Sculley aims to provide developing countries in places like Africa and Southeast Asia with high-powered, affordable smartphones, which he predicts will replace their needs for personal computers.

In addition to its sleek design, the phone is tailored to its target consumers’ preferences. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, texting, taking photos, and banking are popular uses for smartphones, so the Obi Worldphone has features like a 13-megapixel camera and a diverse marketplace of applications.

The phone will retail for $200, a reasonable price to most first-world Americans, but still may be a problem for the standard income in a developing country.

What Sparks Our Fire: A quest for a high-powered but inexpensive smartphone that makes technology more available on a global scale.

Penny For Your Thoughts

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Minimum wage in the United States is recognized as a sign of financial instability, but it is rarely understood exactly how incredibly draining minimum wage labor actually is.

Blake Fall-Conroy, an artist who strives to create “socially-conscious” pieces, has conceptualized an ingenious way to demonstrate the frustrating, monotonous, and often demeaning plight of minimum-wage worker.

Fall-Conroy invented the “minimum wage machine,” a device with a hand-crank that the user turns continuously, and dispenses a penny every 4.5 seconds. An hour will earn you $8 in pennies, which until eight months ago was the minimum wage in the state of New York.

The artist hopes that the machine will help people understand the amount of work that goes into making just $8/hour, and perhaps inspire sympathy for those who work minimum-wage jobs or provoke change in legislation that will raise the minimum wage (the minimum wage in New York is now $8.75).

What Sparks Our Fire: Art that serves a purpose and sparks social awareness.